In our home funerals are a vital tool to the development of our children. Why? Funerals are a place where the plan of salvation and the purpose of life are played out over and over. Let me explain.
Since the time my children were babies I have taken my children to funerals often. We live in a small, rural town. I grew up in this small, rural town. There is not a lot of people moving in and out. Therefore we have a relationship to most of the people in this town. Often when there is a death it someone I have known my entire life.
I have mentioned before that my husband worked a lot when our children were younger. If I wanted to go to a funeral I was going to have to take the children with me. So in the beginning I took our children because it was really my only option.
Through the years I have started gaining a greater appreciation for them. I have recognized them as a teaching tool. My children have attended funerals of the young and old, the tragic and the expected, LDS and non-LDS. They have learned that not everyone believes like they do. They have heard Catholic mass and born-again pulpit pounders. They have witnessed funerals were families have had the firm assurance that their loved one will live again. They have also seen the heartbreak in families where there is no belief in a glorious resurrection. This has been a marvelous time for them to feel the spirit and have their beliefs confirmed. They are not afraid of death. They are not afraid to morn with those that morn.
Some time along my life here I was appointed to the "unofficial funeral committee." When possible and when appropriate our children have assisted me with the family funeral dinners. They have learned how to communicate with those in the grieving process and learned how they can serve them.
The physical or side benefits that have occurred as I've tried to instill in them a testimony in the plan of salvation and provided opportunities for them to fulfill their baptismal covenants are plentiful. The main item is that I relish the times that my children have to sit still for long periods of times in clothes that are uncomfortable. Kids won't ever hold still unless you make them, and provide amble opportunities for them to practice. So funerals are an excellent opportunity to practice sitting still! This is important discipline for their entire life.
They also learn that life isn't about them. They are about life. Sometimes we have to do things we don't want to do. Sometimes it's hot. Sometimes the benches are hard. Sometimes life is sad.
I have been chastised from many that I bring my kids to funerals. That it's not fair to them to have to sit through a long meeting. That they shouldn't be exposed to the death side of life.
I say my children will never become great unless I expect hard things out them.